Medicare Advantage (MA) plans work hard to be highly responsive to member needs, whether it’s meal delivery, transportation, home modification or other in-home supplemental services. To deliver a five-star experience, many innovative health plans have made an investment in their own culture of healthcare delivery, ensuring that their care navigators have the tools they need to be successful, with a focus on driving job satisfaction.
Recognizing that service coordinators and navigators are on the front lines of communication, these organizations find that job satisfaction spills over into positive touch points with members.
In addition, these health plans understand that the culture mindset extends to working with their benefit and service provider networks, ensuring that these organizations have a friction-less experience delivering services to members. As MA plans add members and enter new markets, a major challenge is sustaining a seamless benefit and service delivery model in a personalized manner, as it typically means new providers, new navigators, and of course, new geographies.
Why Focus on CAHPS Scores?
A Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey is the gold standard for assessing consumer satisfaction with the quality of their healthcare, including hospital stays, outpatient care, home care, and hospice services.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality publishes these surveys to help healthcare organizations gain insight into consumer preference, quality, and satisfaction. This allows health plans to improve the quality of services offered, think critically about navigation experiences and benefits offered, and ultimately, member outcomes. However, since these surveys are based on member perceptions, it’s often a challenge to improve scores.
As the industry transitions from a fee-for-service model to a value-based model, the points of differentiation between health plans are narrowing. Members are making more informed health care decisions and rely on these publicly available survey results in deciding where to receive care. The plans that can improve on measures that have traditionally been difficult to move — like CAHPS — will likely end up on top.
How to Improve CAHPS Scores
To improve CAHPS scores, plan managers should focus on a few essential questions:
- Which members can benefit from services like food, transport, and in-home services, and are they eligible?
- Which providers meet member requirements?
- What are their capacities and availability? Can services be rendered in a reasonable timeframe? In many cases, plans are constrained with staffing shortages that delays benefit fulfillment.
Asking these questions will help health plans decide what their members need, whether or not to design flexibilities or SSBCI offerings, and how to fulfill them in a way that continues to improve CAHPS and STAR ratings. In addition, here are some key areas for improvement:
Ongoing focus that extends beyond the February-to-April survey period. Instead, your CAHPS focus should begin in October when the sales cycle starts and continue year-round.
Customer service Approach every member interaction with a focus on service.
Connection Establish and maintain a connection with your members, especially those who enroll online and may get lost in the outreach process.
Communication Evaluate communication at every member touchpoint to ensure it is consistent and high-quality.
Resolve Issues Put in place a process for resolving member issues that includes communication, escalation, issue resolution and success measurement.
Improving CAHPS Scores Using Technology
Health plans are becoming innovative in unlocking new benefits to meet members where they are on their journey to help them live their best life. According to Dina CEO Ashish V. Shah, there is an opportunity to organize these new benefits, alongside the traditional home-oriented services like home health and hospice, into a centralized digital marketplace. The goal is to drive satisfaction for both coordinators and members, as there is one place to navigate benefits that are right for the individual at that moment.
New creative benefits are being turned on with impressive speed. “Looking into the future, the healthcare market will continue to innovate because doing so is critical for meeting the demands of the membership and increasing satisfaction on the part of plan managers,” he said.
“We need to get care navigators in a situation where they spend more time with the member delivering the human experience and not battling the system and sending out multiple faxes to try to provide timely services.” – Ashish V. Shah, CEO of Dina
MA plans that have embraced innovation and invested in the culture of care delivery often find a direct correlation to improved CAHPS scores. Additionally, organizations that extend thatl mindset to service providers make it easier for everyone to deliver exceptional care.